Do you have Africa in your soul? Whilst many people may be leaving South Africa, many others are choosing to move to South Africa or return after spending some time living abroad. There are many great reasons to live there.
With the culture and landscapes of Cape Town, the optimistic buzz of Johannesburg, and the cosmopolitan vibe of Durban, there are many great places to live.
Reading the news headlines, you might think everyone is leaving South Africa, but that is certainly not true. Most people are happy to stay and every year, PSS International Removals helps hundreds of people who choose to move back to South Africa and there are also many expats moving there for the first time.
Yes, it’s true that life isn’t always perfect in South Africa, but that’s life generally, right? The benefits and lifestyle you’ll enjoy living in South Africa far outweigh any downsides – especially if you move to a nice area.
As Ernest Hemingway famously said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy”.
It doesn’t matter if you’re coming home to reconnect with family or to pursue an exciting new career; we’re on hand to help. If you’re asking yourself the question “Should I move back to South Africa?”, then maybe this will help you decide. We’ve put together 25 reasons why you should seriously consider moving to South Africa, so let’s check them out!
1. Stunning views and landscapes
One thing everyone can agree on is South Africa is visually stunning. Whether it is the beautiful beaches and rocky Atlantic coastlines, the mountains or the abundance of wildlife in the many National Parks, South Africa has it all.
It’s no wonder that South Africa has been voted the most beautiful country in the world.
Everybody should visit the Drakensberg at least once. It’s this incredible range of mountains in the middle of the country, and they can get up to 11,500 feet tall. Alternatively, if you prefer the heat, there is the Kalahari desert you can visit! South Africa has pretty much everything in terms of climate and areas that you can explore and live in, so there really is something for everybody
As Will Smith commented, “It’s really beautiful. It feels like God visits everywhere else but lives in Africa.” It remains one of the most popular tourist destinations but why just make the occasional visit when you could call South Africa your home?
2. Your cash goes further than you’d think…
When you compare the cost of living in South Africa compared to the quality of life you’ll be very surprised.
The 2022 Cost of Living Survey from Mercer looked at 227 major cities across the world to assess the cost of living. They took a look at factors like housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, and household goods.
Cape Town clocked in at 194 on the list, Johannesburg sits at 193 and Durban at 216. Still not convinced? Well, if you compared the cost of living in Cape Town to somewhere like London, you’d find out a few things.
So, first of all, the big thing was that rent is nearly 63% cheaper in Cape Town than a property in London. The consumer prices are roughly 47% lower in Cape Town, and it once again wins out for food, with groceries being nearly 40% lower and the costs of eating out being 51% lower.
Not bad, right? It’s cool to see that your cash will take you a lot further than you’d think in South Africa – not bad if you like sampling the finer things that life has to offer.
3. You’ve got Africa in your soul…
Maybe you’re a native of South Africa or perhaps you’ve only visited once, but I’m willing to bet that you’ve got the country in your heart, and you can feel the continent calling you.
There’s something amazing about coming home to South Africa and being among your friends and family or making new connections.
The South African poet, Bridget Dore, summed it up best in her poem dedicated to Nelson Mandela: “Africa smiled a little when you left. We know you, Africa said. We have seen and watched you. We can learn to live without you, but we know we needn’t yet. And Africa smiled a little when you left. You cannot leave Africa, Africa said. It is always with you, there inside your head. Our rivers run in currents in the swirl of your thumbprints; our drumbeats counting out your pulse; our coastline, the silhouette of your soul. So Africa smiled a little when you left. We are in you, Africa said. You have not left us, yet.”
4. Kickstart a brand new chapter in your career
If you’re looking to pursue an amazing new career opportunity, then South Africa is packed with new ways to start a career or to take your existing skill set back home and settle into a job.
Some of the key skills that are in demand in South Africa include occupations such as accountants, electricians and chefs, but there are plenty of other skill sets that need filling! Ultimately, if you’ve got the skills that are in demand, or just have a lot of high-end qualifications, then you’ll have no problem getting a job.
5. You really can’t beat the beautiful, spacious properties
South Africa, as we all know, is a beautiful place with many views and appealing places to visit. That means that there are so many stunning places for you to put down roots, too, because, for every amazing place, you’ve got a home with a view to match.
With a wealth of stunning properties across South Africa and rent which is much lower than in London, it’s easy to get a beautiful place with a view, whether you’re a family looking to put down roots or a millennial after a brand new place.
The average price of a house in Cape Town (the most expensive city) was 1.6 million South African rands in 2022 – that’s about £80,000. This means that buying a nice house in a decent area is within the reach of many people moving to South Africa.
6. Time to catch back up with family and friends
Many people who go to live outside of South Africa often find they lose touch with their friends and family from back home. It’s a real shame, but it’s just part of going away and starting a life. However, the best thing about coming back home to South Africa as you get to catch up with all these people!
Like a lot of countries, South Africa puts a great emphasis on family and community. People who leave to start new lives are often welcomed back like long-lost relatives, and they usually have some great stories to tell. You should definitely think about coming back home because, chances are, everybody’s missed you.
7. Amazing beaches
Positioned with the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the south and southeast, South Africa is ideally suited for beautiful sandy and sunny beaches. In fact, there are 1600 miles of coastline between Namibia and the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s no wonder that there are so many highly regarded beaches. 51 of South Africa’s beaches the prestigious Blue Flag title in the 2022/2023 season. You’ll definitely want to spend some time checking out all the beaches, and they’re just as good as you remember.
A few of the beaches you must visit include Boulder Beach in Cape Town, the Golden Mile in Durban, Kogel Bay on the East Coast, and Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast.
8. Your overseas work experience is appreciated
So, if you’ve worked hard to study and gain an education, it’s natural to want your experience and skills to be appreciated. We’re all searching for job satisfaction; it’s a very normal thing to look for.
If you go somewhere like London, everybody has the same qualifications and skills. Big cities like London and New York have thousands of applicants for every job role. The best of the best gather there, so it’s hard to stand out and feel appreciated.
The great thing about South Africa is the percentage of highly qualified people is lower than in the big cities. Your work experience is needed. Your knowledge and experience will give you a leg up if you want to pursue a career, so it’s worth coming back and using your knowledge to help improve South Africa.
Most people go to South Africa for a holiday, but when South African people want a holiday, they go outside. Seriously though, the climate is stunning. South Africa is positioned just close enough to the equator that if you live in Durban, you’ll see a tropical climate all year.
South Africa averages about 2500 hours of sunshine per year – compared to just 1400 hours in the UK. Winter in Cape Town often goes up to 25°C so you won’t need to worry about escaping to warmer climes. Plus, while there are quite a few rainy seasons, they never last too long.
10. Private healthcare for any occasion
Did you know South Africa has a private healthcare system that is just as good as anywhere in Europe or the US?
South Africa has some of the best healthcare in the world. The hospitals are all first-class, and there are plenty of medical aid schemes to choose from to help you when things don’t quite go according to plan.
Here’s a fun fact: countless people come to South Africa every year for plastic surgery. You may not know this, but South Africa’s plastic surgeons are some of the best on the planet, and there’s a pretty favourable exchange rate on currency. So, if you ever wanted a chance to get rid of that pesky mole on your face, South Africa could help.
If you are a fan of nature, then South Africa is definitely for you. The abundance of natural habitats is unique and something everybody should see at least once in their lives, but why settle for that when you could live there?
If you like the idea of getting up close and personal with some majestic wildlife, then the many game parks across the country would be happy to help you see a lion or two.
Plus, there’s some true South African hospitality to take advantage of in these events, from the basic tented camps to 5-star villas. When you factor in that they have upwards of 10% of the flowers in the world, you’ve got a clear picture that South Africa is one of the wildlife hubs of the world.
12. Everybody is welcome in South Africa
South Africans, are a pretty welcoming bunch. Remember, South Africa’s nickname is the “Rainbow Nation” due to its multiculturalism, especially post-Apartheid. Everybody has a place, which means that the country is frequently listed as one of the most inclusive countries in the world, usually just behind Canada and the US.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what gender you identify as, what your sexuality is, what God you believe in, or what your political views are – you will not only be accepted but welcomed.
13. Food, drink and merry company
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If you like wining and dining, then you’re in for a treat in South Africa. The wine is legendary across the world, and the restaurants are some of the best you’ll find in any hemisphere!
South Africans are famous for their love of meat but there is also plenty of seafood and an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. You’ll notice strong English influences but you can also experience Braais (meat grill), Cape Cuisine and other imported influences such as Portuguese. But we mustn’t forget to mention one of SA’s most famous exports – Nando’s!
14. All the comforts of home
There are quite a few urban legends about what life in South Africa is all about. It’s actually pretty modern and a lot like most Western countries, so it’s not like you’re going to miss home too much.
There are many shopping malls and cinemas. You can go into an Apple Store and buy a brand-new iPhone if you want. There is quality water straight out of the tap, and nearly everywhere has broadband. South Africa is really a pretty modern country, all things considered, and the idea that just because you’re in Africa means you’re automatically living in poverty just isn’t true. It’s an outdated stereotype; you’ll find all the modern comforts of home here.
Here is the thing that you should probably know about South Africa. Most of the country is a little slower than other places in the world. If you want to live what is closest to a modern, metropolitan lifestyle, then you’ll want to go to Johannesburg, but most South African places are pretty slow and relaxed. South Africans are not particularly big on a fast-paced life, patience is considered to be an important virtue.
With that being said, anybody who is prepared to embrace this slower way of life will definitely begin to see why it’s so popular. Life here is to be enjoyed, so there isn’t as much rushing around as you’re finding places like London or New York.
16. The South African sense of humour
In spite of (and maybe because of) daily challenges, South Africans have a great sense of humour. People are happy to laugh at themselves and the obscurities of society. You will no doubt become familiar with the phrase ‘This is Africa’, also referred to as TIA, to comment on some of the ludicrous things that go on.
Everyone is willing to crack a joke and it’s no surprise that a number of comedians like Trevor Noah have achieved success internationally.
17. They drive on the left!
Ok, this may not be the be-all and end but it’s a nice bonus if you’re used to driving on the left-hand side of the road. You’ll find driving in South Africa very familiar and easy to get used to.
What’s more, if you own a decent right-hand drive car you’ll find it relatively simple and cost-effective to ship and import cars to South Africa.
18. So many leisure activities
The great thing about South Africa is definitely just how many opportunities you’ve got to get out and do something fun. It’s often described as one big playground! You could do pretty much anything you wanted to do in the country, and you’d have a great time.
For example, you could go for a wine tasting, run in the mountains, or even hit the beach all day. Plus, if you take a car or even a plane, you can explore South Africa at your leisure. You’ll run into a beautiful little town, the vibrant countryside, or a beach after just a few hours of travel. It’s amazing just how much variety you have.
Thrill seekers will never be bored with hiking, snorkelling, white water rafting, bungee jumping, skiing and the world’s best locations for hot air ballooning. South Africa is not short on amusement and water parks including Gold Reef City and uShaka Marine World to name just a couple.
No guide about South Africa would be complete without talking about the big five. Going on safari is a popular day out – not just a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
When you go to South Africa, there are five iconic species of animal that you’ll have on your doorstep. You’ve got lions, rhinos, leopards, elephants, and buffalo. These are the most common animals, and you will see them in most parts of South Africa. Sometimes they all coexist in one reserve, but other times there is a special area dedicated to just one animal.
There are many national parks and conservation areas because animals are an important part of the ecosystem. However, this does mean that you’ll get to see some absolutely stunning wildlife and get up close and personal with some of the apex predators of the world.
Moving to another country might seem like a massive undertaking if you haven’t taken the time to research it. We get that 100%, but don’t worry about it. PSS is here to help you move across the world with ease!
We’ve got plenty of experience when it comes to packing up and shipping to South Africa. In fact, we help hundreds of families and expats to South Africa every year. It is easier and not as expensive as you might think to move your belongings overseas.
We ship to all the major ports including Cape Town, Durban and East London, and can also arrange door-to-door delivery to inland destinations such as Pretoria and Johannesburg. You can check out our guide on removals to South Africa which has a useful FAQ section.
21. Sports are big here; just a friendly warning!
So, if you’re a big sports fan, you will feel right at home in South Africa. There are three big sports in the country, and that is soccer, cricket, and, of course, rugby. However, lots of us also like cycling, swimming and running, but the big three competitive sports are those ones.
Sport is pretty big here, and it is taught in school, so most children grow up playing some sport. South Africans are a competitive bunch, but not in the same way that you see in other parts of the world. It’s very common for people who are on opposite sporting teams to watch the match together and then go out for a drink afterwards.
There are also lots of sporting clubs around the country. Bowls, tennis, badminton, swimming, squash, and even croquet are all played at sports clubs around the country. Plus, the coastline is great for surfing, and there are world-famous golf courses in the country that you just have to check out.
22. English is the most common language
As anyone who has grown up in South Africa would know, the main language that is spoken a lot is… English.
Yes, there are other languages spoken depending on families and specific regions, but English is one of the official 11 languages of the country and is spoken arguably the most. You’ll hear it in tourist attractions, shops, businesses and other places. That means you won’t have to worry about losing the nuanced grasp of English you’ve managed to cultivate!
23. You are at the centre of the world
Whilst once you move to South Africa, it is unlikely that you will want to leave, it’s good to know that the rest of the world is only a flight away. Whilst flight times can be around 11 hours to London, you will not need to worry about jet lag as the time difference is only two hours.
Also, average internet speeds are the best in Africa and not much slower than in the UK so you’ll have no problem being connected online and keeping in touch.
But you can also be sure that friends and family won’t need much of an excuse to come and visit you once they are aware of all that South Africa has to offer!
We know that loads of people who are thinking about moving back to South Africa will have young families. Don’t worry; South Africa is great for kids. Nearly all of the accommodations and urban areas are safe for raising children in, and there are plenty of nature reserves with rigorous safety measures to protect everybody.
However, something else that you have to consider is that kids who live in South Africa grow up happy and healthy. There is plenty of organic, healthy food, there are loads of sports clubs and opportunities, and the weather is good all year round. Most children naturally grow up to be athletic, well-rounded, sociable people who love the outdoors. What more could you want for your kids?
25. The future is bright
When you move to South Africa, the future is limitless. You could do whatever you want with your life in South Africa because there’s so much going on and so many opportunities. You could live down by the coastline and be a surfer, you could move into the big city and be a business person, or you could strike a happy medium in between in one of the many towns and villages.
Whilst there have been some turbulent times since the end of apartheid and the country is still in the midst of slow reform, the outlook for the future and the economy is positive.
In short, there are a lot of great things about South Africa and they are only going to get better in the long term.
Feel like moving to South Africa? We can help
No matter whether you’re returning to your homeland or moving as a expat, South Africa has so much to offer. It has the capacity to capture your heart if you were born there or even just visited on holiday. As Ernest Hemingway famously put it: “All I wanted to do was get back to Africa. We had not left it, yet, but when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.”
When you consider the amazing nature and landscapes, the relaxed lifestyle and the great work opportunities, South Africa has always been one of the most desirable and underrated countries to live in.
So, if the idea of moving to South Africa is something that appeals to you, we are happy to help. Whether you require a luggage service to South Africa or an international removals service, PSS have years of experience with shipping goods overseas from the UK and will guide you through the process.